When New Jersey first enacted its paid family leave program in 2009, it was the second state in the country to do so, following only California. As the program approached a decade in existence, problems remained. Some lawmakers believed that too many families were still unable to take needed family leave because they could not afford it, meaning that the program was failing to address the problem it was designed to alleviate.
To address that issue, New Jersey’s lawmakers have again taken action. nj.com reported that, back in mid-February, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law an important new bill regarding paid family leave in New Jersey. The new legislation now makes the state’s paid leave law one of the most generous in the country. The new law will be a very helpful one for many workers, allowing them to avoid a terrible situation in which they must choose between keeping their jobs and making ends meet or spending time caring for a new baby or ailing loved one. As always, if you are unsure about your rights or entitlement to benefits under New Jersey law, or believe that your employer has violated the law, reach out right away to retain the services of a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney.
The expansion created by the new law helps in two vital ways, as it extends the amount of time during which workers can be on paid leave and also increases the portion of their regular income that they receive. Under the new law, eligible caregivers or new parents may receive as much as 12 weeks of family leave benefits, an increase from six weeks under the old law. The old law said that an employee on family leave would receive 2/3 of his/her regular income; under the new law, it’s 80%. The original program capped the maximum weekly benefit at $650; under the expanded program, that figure will rise to $860, according to the nj.com report.
Another helpful prong of the expansion was a widening of the people who are eligible for benefits. The report indicated that, under the expanded program, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandchildren, fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, foster parents and domestic partners can potentially receive benefits as caregivers. Actually, the expansion goes even further, saying that any relationship “that the employee shows” is close enough to be “the equivalent of a family relationship” can be enough to trigger potential eligibility for benefits as a caregiver.
An additional way that the new law expanded eligibility was broadening the array of employers whose employees can receive these benefits. Under the original program, eligibility for benefits only applied to employees who worked for employers of 50 or more. With the expansion, employees of businesses that have 30 or more workers are potentially eligible, nj.com reported.
Each legislative session, new laws are enacted and each year new court rulings are entered that many impact your rights as a worker in New Jersey. For reliable representation with regard to your case, whether your issue is family/medical leave, discrimination or harassment, contact the aggressive New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.
More blog posts:
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination: What It Means for You as a Worker in the Garden State, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2018
Know Before You Sign: Settling Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Without Defeating Your Right to Sue Under the FMLA, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Nov. 22, 2017